“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28
I believe Jesus knew the countless people that these words would bring unspeakable refreshment to through the ages. I believe He knew every single heart and situation to which these words would apply in a unique way.
Today it speaks crazy encouragement and confirmation to my heart about what serving him is like, and what it is not like.
I think of the people Jesus was speaking to. Many were burdened by so many laws added on by the pharisees and so much pressure, no doubt, from their culture to not fail to keep a single one. The pharisees were certainly not humble in heart and the yoke that they placed on themselves and others was far from easy.
But Jesus leads me in gentleness. He puts things and people on my heart and when he leads me to do things, even if they seem difficult, there is such peace and joy when I obey. My desires mesh with His and even in this bone tired season, I am revived inwardly and spurred on to love and good deeds.
I think it’s ironic that He says, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” yet immediately follows it with an analogy about oxen. What are oxen and a yoke for?
Work. Hard, grueling work!
This hardly seems to fit with the idea of rest!
But today it fits to my heart like Cinderella’s glass slipper.
Because I’m learning, slowly but surely after much failure to let my serving and working be out of rest in Him, and not out of striving in my flesh, and especially not pressure from people around me.
Even among Christians today there can be much piling on of added laws of a different kind. Members of the body convinced that they have a better plan for other members of the body than the head does. Convinced that other members are not doing enough. Not serving enough. Never enough…
But Jesus does not lead this way. He says, “Come to me!” first, and when I come He shows me how much He loves and how much He cares and He gives me things to do and then says, “Take my yoke.” He tells me His is “easy and light.”
His yoke is easy and light because when He is the one who gives it, He is the one who bears it. He is the one who shares it. That is the secret I find. And there is joy there, peace there. There is “enough” there because all that he asks he provides. The only work that I can expect to be done in rest is that which is done out of obedience to Jesus Christ, placed on my shoulders by Him alone.
So when I grow faint at the pressure I feel that others would like to place on me, I run into his arms! And l find rest for my soul, even in the hardest, most grueling work, if it is indeed what He has given me to do.
So how do I serve out of rest? I answer His call, run into His arms…and the rest is history.